Biotechs got battered earlier this year, but the big-caps are winning back investor interest. John McCamant, editor of the Medical Technology Stock Letter, says small-cap biotechs, which bore the brunt of the selling, are now where the values are. Dan D'Pietro of hedge fund ProMedCapital is high on Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (SPPI ) (SPPI), whose stock is down from 6.90 in mid-March to 4.40 now. The company has yet to make a dime, but it has a number of anticancer agents in advanced clinical trials, including Satraplatin, an oral drug for prostate cancer. The Food & Drug Administration has given Satraplatin a "fast-track" designation for quick action upon completion of tests now in progress in Europe. Satraplatin, says D'Pietro, is also being tested for ovarian and small-cell lung cancer. Spectrum's partner, Germany's GPC Biotech (GPCB ), is funding the trials. Spectrum will ink a pact with a major drug company to market Satraplatin, says one investor close to the company. Ren Benjamin of investment firm Rodman & Renshaw rates it "outperform/speculative risk," with a price target of 12. Spectrum, he says, should report interim clinical results on Satraplatin by early 2006.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, neither the sources cited in Inside Wall Street nor their firms hold positions in the stocks under discussion. Similarly, they have no investment banking or other financial relationships with them.
By Gene G. Marcial